How To Overwinter Pepper Plants

Tips to Winterize Your Pepper Plants

How To Overwinter Pepper Plants-peppers-growing-in-a-container
Growing Peppers

The flavors of peppers can wake up any dish with its flaming sizzle, this spice plant is a favorite of many worldwide especially in the Caribbean.  There are an estimated “50,000 varieties of peppers that are grown throughout the world, but most of them are not considered to be hot just 4,000”. Peppers are usually grown as annuals but in tropical -sub-tropical climates they are rare as perennials.

As we approach the colder months we should consider winterizing our pepper plants because peppers are not cold-hardy and can be easily winter killed.  To ensure that your pepper plants survive the winter months providing, your favorite dishes with that kick to those mouth-watering flavors then continue reading to see how this is done.

Tips to Transplant Peppers Indoors

1. Water your pepper tree thoroughly the day before transplanting.

2. Check if there are any bugs or insect pests and thoroughly spray both the top and the undersides of the leaves with an organic pesticide for edible plants. Read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.

3. If uprooting do not disturb as much of the roots as possible or try to limit the number of roots that may be destroyed during the transplanting operation.

4. Provide a container that is large enough for your pepper tree to sit comfortably and ensure that the container has drain holes for water drainage. Ensure that the container has drain holes for water drainage.

5. Use a good potting mixture that will absorb the right amount of water but will allow excess water to drain.

6. Place the tree next to a South or west-facing window or provide lights and a heat mat.

7.  Check the soil every other day or every few days for moisture level.

8. Discontinue fertilizing because, during the cold period, your pepper plant goes into a dormant or rest period.



How to Overwinter Peppers Grown Directly In the Ground

There are two methods of growing peppers either directly in the ground or from containers, if growing peppers directly in the ground be careful when uprooting them. Ensure when removing that most of the roots remain intact, and try to extract the plant with most of the roots contained in a soil root ball. In fact, before attempting to uproot peppers water thoroughly the day before to ease the burden of peppers going into shock. Inspect your pepper tree also to ensure it does not have any insect pests and treat it before bringing it indoors because what you don’t want is for garden insect pests to overwinter indoors. What you don’t want is for insects to spread to other plants you may be growing indoors.

Ensure that the container you’re placing your peppers in is large enough for the root ball to sit comfortably, add a good potting mix that will hold the right amount of moisture but will allow excess to drain. The container should also have drain holes and a saucer to catch water as it drains after you have made an application. If water has no way of escape and the water is allowed to remain can lead to root rot of your pepper tree.

Once you bring your pepper tree indoors it may show some signs of yellowing of the leaves and even some leaf drop this is normal because during the transplanting process your pepper tree might suffer some rot loss that leads to yellowing and leaf drop. Don’t be alarmed this is because your pepper plant is making some adjustments.

Transitioning your pepper trees indoors can also produce some leaf yellowing, again don’t be surprised because you’re moving your plants from outdoors where they are use to getting direct sunlight. Indoors the light intensity is different, the container should be placed next to a South or West-facing window for sufficient lighting, providing grow lights will offer some help as well. Placing your pepper tree container on a heat mat will provide additional warmth for your tree to thrive throughout the winter season.

If your pepper plant does not produce fruit this is normal because of the winter season, however, if some peppers are produced they will not be as big compared to growing outdoors.

Inspect the soil every other day for moisture level and water as needed, the soil should be somewhat moist and not waterlogged which will lead to root rot, no need to fertilize during the winter months because pepper trees are dormant or are in a rest period.

How to Overwinter Peppers that’s Grown in Containers

If you’re pepper trees are grown in containers your job of bringing them inside is easier, it’s all a matter of moving the container indoors. Before moving the container inside inspect for garden insect pests and treat them as needed. Place the container next to a South or West-facing window or provide artificial lighting if needed a heat mat will provide warmth. Keep well-watered but don’t overwater and continue to monitor the soil moisture level.

Returning Pepper Tree Outdoors with the Return of Spring

A month before the last frost date locate your pepper tree in an area that’s warm and bright, for additional heat place a heat mat or pad under the container. Keep a check on the soil moisture level and water as needed.

As the temperature begins to warm outside and the days get longer your pepper tree can be returned outdoors but don’t place it in direct sunlight as yet. Do it over a period of time as you see new growth starts to develop. In other words, expose your pepper tree to more and more direct sunlight over a 2-week period or thereabout until your pepper tree is adjusted to being outdoors in the full sun. Now you can once again return your pepper plant to your garden area.

Insect Pests of Pepper Trees

  • Spider mites- Treat with insecticidal soap, neem, or horticultural oil
  • Aphids-Treat with insecticidal soap, neem, or horticultural oil
  • Thrips-Treat with insecticidal soap, neem, or horticultural oil
  • Flea Beetles-Use an organic insecticide that contains pyrethrins, neem oil, or Diatomaceous earth

Additional information

If your desire is for your pepper tree to fruit during winter time then trees must be grown in a greenhouse that produces a different temperature and lighting. The greenhouse does not have to be large, there are mini-greenhouses that can work just as well.

The final word on how to overwinter pepper plants

Keeping your pepper tree thriving during the winter months is that simple, these plants don’t require much as far as care is concerned. If your desire to overwinter your pepper tree then you have come to the ride place. This guide will help you to have much success as you care for your pepper tree during the cold season so when the warmer months return you will have an abundance of peppers at your fingertips to add and enjoy in your favorite recipes.


Signup Today for Our Newsletter to Receive Up to Date Information on Herbs and Other Gardening News in the Industry.


About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

2 thoughts on “How To Overwinter Pepper Plants”

  1. I honestly have never attempted to winterize my pepper plants, rather I have been buying new plants each season. Now that I have read through your article on how to do it, I can see that I have been wasting money, and also leaving plants to die necessarily. Both of these are not good.

    I will follow the steps you have laid out, they really are not hard and I do have room indoors where they will not die from the freezing sub-zero temperatures that we have over the winter in Minnesota. It will be a bit of trial and error, but I can’t do worse than leaving them outside as I am doing up to now.

    Regarding the growing lights, how long do you leave them on per day? I have heard that some people let them burn for 24 hours a day but that seems like overkill and too much for the plants. Any advice you have would be helpful (I will have to buy the lights too, maybe you could suggest some that would work?). 


    • I am so happy to help, when using grow lights it should be on for 8-10 hours another recommendation is 14-16 hours per day. Between the 2 it’s best to see what works best for you. Hope this works and all the best with your pepper tree.


Leave a Comment